Monday, February 28, 2011

adventures with bunny

Charlie is really an awesome dad.

Not only because he loves his children and plays with them constantly and prepares the most awesome snacks, but because when his six-year-old daughter goes off to Kindergarten during the day, he invites her beloved stuffed animal to participate in a series of adventures. Which he then photographs on his iPhone and shares with his daughter when she returns home from school.

This was what bunny did, today.

First, she had breakfast with her best friend in the world.


Then, she lent a hand - aka: paw - in the kitchen.


Bunny is a HUGE help.


That's it little muffins ... rise up and turn toasty brown!


No, bunny. You can't have them ALL.


But you can have one.


Golly Jeepers. How many bites does it take for you to put down a carrot? Two?!


And now, it's time for our weekly run to the store.


Bunny, how is your sense of direction?


Woo hoo, we love us some Costco! And bunny sure does appreciate those spacious double carts!


Almost as much as she enjoys Costco pizza. Is there still room in that little bunny tummy?


Apparently so....


Oh, it's so good. Lemme just close my eyes for a few minutes and take a snooze.

Let me know if any ravenous foxes show up... I'm feeling PLUMP!


I really need to get some rest because my best friend will soon be home...


...and it takes a lot of energy to love some one more than the whole entire world.

The End.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

quiet please

There are a lot of strange noises in our house. Most of the time, we don't hear any of the noises during the day because there is a dull roar with our children running around. But at night, when the children are in bed sleeping, there have been many times Charlie and I have woken from a sound sleep because we've heard something unusual.


Most of the time, we can explain the noises. For example, sometimes the toilet will just start running in the hall bathroom. Or the wooden floors will creak. On gusty nights, the wind will rush through the soffits along our roof line and it makes the sound of something bumping around our attic. And every so often, tree branches will either scrape against our roof or snap off and fall, making a loud thumping noise in our yard.

But sometimes, there are sights and sounds that we just can't explain.

One night, we both woke up because we were certain we heard footsteps coming down the hall. The very next day, I was standing in the entry way and happened to see a shadow pass by the boys' room. I thought for sure that it was Charlie, inside the room, so I started to jabber on about something. When I didn't receive a response, I walked over to look in the room and was surprised to see that it was completely empty.

I found Charlie in the basement and I told him that it was very curious - I had just seen a shadow pass IN TO the boys' room and I thought for sure it was him and yet, the room was empty? How could that be? He didn't have an explanation or say much about it, probably because he didn't think much about it and thought I was hallucinating. But then, a few days later, he called me at work to say that when the kids were off at school, he, without a doubt, saw a shadow pass in to the boys' room and thought it was Henry. Until he realized that the room was empty and Henry was playing in an entirely different part of the house.

This really freaked Charlie out. And yet, it was comforting in some strange way, that he could collaborate my story.

A few months ago, just after we had painted the basement SUNBURST, and had started to rip up the orange carpet, we woke up when we thought for sure that we heard voices in our basement. Charlie was conveying this story to our neighbors one morning at the bus stop and they were intrigued. "Oh my gosh, what were the voices saying?!" they asked.

My husband, who knows when he's got someone hook line and sinker, dropped his voice a few octaves and said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY HOUSE?! GET ... OUT!!"


No, that's not really what we heard the voices saying. On the night it happened, we couldn't decipher anything, intelligible. But Charlie's version made a funny story, nonetheless.

With the exception of the noise I heard last week when Charlie was out of town that had me slightly terrified, we're not at all afraid and actually feel quite comfortable living here. I felt a good energy from the first time that we walked through this home and that feeling has only intensified since we've made it more our own.

Nonetheless, we talk a lot about Mr. S.

We imagine the life that he had here for almost 50 years, and we wonder what he would think about all the changes that we've made. We also wonder what he would think about his house being filled to the brink with small children. They make a joyful sound, but oh the noise - noise - noise.

We're currently in the process of replacing all the doors inside the house. It's been a huge undertaking that has consumed a tremendous amount of time and has involved us painting 17 door jambs with three coats of semi-gloss white. A few days ago, I was standing on a ladder painting the closet in the boys' room when something caught my eye on the very top shelf.


From what I understand, Mr. S was an avid golfer. He was a member of the local country club and played all the time. This sign is the type that they use to keep people quiet on the sidelines when the golfer is putting or trying to make an otherwise important shot.

At that very moment, when I was pulling the sign down off the shelf and reading the words for the first time, there was all kinds of noise in the house. The kids were running about, chasing each other, laughing. And there was noisy confusion in my mind as I was thinking about the next 20 things I had to do and whether or not I was prioritizing my efforts - MY LIFE - appropriately?

That whole thinking about "what's next?" is a very bad habit that I have. Even when the house is quiet and the children are in bed sleeping, my mind is always going. So while I know that this sign is used for golf, it's a good reminder to find quiet amidst the chaos. It's certainly not very often that I give myself an opportunity to take quiet moments and reflect. And yet, if I could just find a way to quiet my mind, I'm absolutely certain answers I can't find in the daily rush of life will come flooding to me...

I think Oogway, the turtle in Kung Fu Panda said it best: "Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agited, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear."

I believe that this house was meant for us. I also believe that there is a good energy that resides here, in addition to the six good spirits that are living here, now. But most of all, I believe that this sign was more for Charlie and I - than it was for our children who make so much noise on any given day, they could undoubtedly raise the dead. It really is quite humorous to me, that a family with kindergarten aged triplets plus a preschooler would move in to the house where a 90-year old man lived, alone, for the past several years and find a sign like this.


I feel like it was a housewarming gift, left for us by the good Mr. S.


So we are reminded of this important message daily, we're going to hang it in our breakfast nook.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

ninety days from now

It's 11:15 PM on Friday night.

The children are all in bed, sleeping.

Charlie is out of town on his business trip.

I'm wrapping up a project for work and preparing to turn in for the night.

Suddenly, I hear a sound unlike any sound I've heard before. It sounds like a window slowly being opened. A window downstairs, directly beneath our bedroom. I catch my breath, afraid to move. The noise stops. I wonder if I imagined it, or if I really did hear something? After a few tense moments, I slowly exhale, questioning what would I do if there really was something in the house?

The noise happens again.

This time it is followed by a a thump, thump, thump.

Adrenaline surges through me. Instead of rousing my sleeping children and fleeing the scene, I jump off the bed, grab a hair brush from my night stand, and stomp as loudly as I can to the stairwell. I flip on the light and make a whole bunch of grunting noises that are intended to sound ... ferocious ... like a mother bear who is prepared to protect her cubs.

If something appeared - or came charging up the stairwell at me - the adrenalin was so intense, I felt like I was fully prepared to brush it's hair really hard. Although, in reality, if something came charging up the stairs at me, I probably would have wet myself as I ran screaming in to my children's room while fumbling around the phone trying to call 911 for back up support.

Fast forward 10 minutes. I'm back in our bedroom. My ears are straining to hear any more sound. I didn't go downstairs and inspect the source of the sound because if there had actually been something there, I wasn't prepared to drop dead of a heart attack. So instead, I climb in to bed, fully dressed and turn the television on low as I ready myself to stay up all night because OBVIOUSLY that's exactly what I need to do to ensure my family's safety.

Within minutes, I was completely sucked in to an infomercial.

I'm sure you've seen it, before.

I know a few people who have done the program with remarkable success. But I'd never considered it for myself, until that very moment as I sat in bed clutching a hairbrush to fend off whatever was in our basement.

At some point, when the prior noises I'd heard had vanished and they started to show the same infomercial for a third time, I dozed off. Who knows how many more times the infomercial played, permeating my subconscious as I slept. I assume a lot, since the next day, I couldn't shake the "before" and "after" testimonials from my mind.

And then, just seconds before I ran out the door to pick my husband up from the airport, I ducked in to use the restroom and well ... would you look at what happened?!


Regardless of whether this occurrence was a factor of an old, brittle toilet seat ... or the weight that was inflicted upon it, it was a horrifying event.


Despite my best intentions to seamlessly integrate exercise and good nutrition in to my life since I've returned to work full-time, I've failed miserably. While I don't really eat junk food ... I don't really think about what I chomp down, either. And yet, I've always wanted to be more of a conscientious eater as opposed to someone who doesn't think about food until they are so famished, they'll eat a paper bag.

Maybe it's the 40th birthday that's looming ever closer, but I know that if I want to get in to really good physical shape - the best of my life - this is the time to do it. Moreover, I recently read an article that concluded it doesn't matter what kind of good physical shape you were in when you were a child ... the secret to longevity is good physical conditioning when you're middle-aged.

(Although, if I'm planning to live to 100, technically, middle aged won't begin for another 10 years. Right?)

When Charlie returned from his trip, we had a brief pow-wow before my husband decided that breaking a toilet seat is conclusive evidence that we need to make a commitment to getting in better shape. So, he pulled the trigger and ordered the program.

It arrived on our doorstep, today.

When we saw the box with the product markings clearly evident all over it, we laughed when we thought of our mailman, thinking to himself, "Suckers! I can't wait to see how this one goes..."

We're excited to get started, so tonight, we're doing our fit-test. In order to be physically able to do this program, I needed to be able to do 15 push-ups, one wall squat for 60 seconds, 25 ins and outs (like a sit-up, but with your legs parallel to the ground, without touching), and 10 curls with 10 pound weights. I also needed to be able to jump three-inches off the ground. All of these things sounded so easy. Until I tried to do them. The wall squat nearly had me in tears and I thought I was going to lose my dinner with the ins and outs.

Charlie was just as challenged by his pre-test as me.

But we're not deterred. We are so totally doing this. And 90 days from now, I'm going to post our before and after pictures. OH YES I AM. And also, I'm going to be able to do a flip on the bar. Did you think I forgot about that? I haven't ... it's been on my mind for the past two years that I've made absolutely no progress towards my goal of what would seem like a simple task of hoisting my body around some rings.

Wish me luck. We start, tomorrow. And provided I can lift my arms up to a keyboard, I will strive to document our progress every single Wednesday until we are finished.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

a less common source of calcium

Exactly two months ago, on or about this very day, we lost our very first tooth.

And this was the scene at our house, this morning.


There were two very loose bottom teeth, that were just barely rooted. And Carolyn was very troubled that these teeth were wobbling around in her mouth. Unlike two months ago when she barreled across the threshold of hysteria regarding losing her first tooth, this morning she was begging that her loose teeth be removed.



It seemed to me that her father would be a much more appropriate choice considering he has more of a tolerance for this kind of thing. But Carolyn didn't want her father's big fingers anywhere near her mouth. No, she opted for me and my dainty fingers. And that would be just fine except ... pardon me while I scream and yell ewwww!


Not out loud, of course, because I don't want to mentally scar my child. The screaming is just in my head, because ack!!! as much as I love my daughter, there is absolutely NO WAY I'm plucking teeth out of her mouth. I've got goosebumps all over my body, just thinking about it, now.

Fourteen hours later.

So instead of obliging her simple request, I patted her on her adorable head, kissed her sweet soft cheek, told her how much I loved her and then I cowardly dashed off to work. When I returned home tonight, the tooth was sticking up and all kinds of funky looking.

We sat down to eat dinner. Following dinner, she immediately jumped in the shower. And sometime between a taco and a conditioning rinse ... she lost the tooth. After ripping the house apart, it once again appears that the tooth was ingested.


I'm beginning to think that if there is any hope of us actually retaining one of these cute little pearly whites for the Tooth Fairy's tooth cup, I need to dig deep and find the strength to either pluck the third loose tooth out of of her mouth, or tie a string around it, fasten the string to a door knob, and slam the door shut.

Oh my ... the blood just rushed out of my head and I suddenly feel faint.


*Deep breaths. Find a happy place!*

Quite frankly, I think it would be easier to eat a live spider.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

thin mints, get your thin mints here!

This past Fall, when the children were starting school, I had signed my name on an "interest" form to sign our girls up for the Girl Scouts ... which begin in Kindergarten, unlike the Boy Scouts which don't begin until First Grade.

Since I didn't hear anything more about the Girl Scouts, I promptly forgot about it. Until two weeks ago, when I received an e-mail from the local Girl Scout troop organizer. Apparently, the "interest" form I, along with 10 other families, had filled out, was misfiled and just recently discovered and now, they were scrambling to pull together a Daisy troop for the Kindergarten girls whose families had expressed an interest six months ago.

But before they could actually form the troop they needed a volunteer to be the troop leader.





I could see this was going no where fast, so I threw out my name not entirely sure what to expect. Lo and behold, tonight, was our informational meeting and when I walked in to that room and met the two women who will be serving as my "mentors" and the 10 other mothers of the girls who will be joining our Daisy troop, they actually started to applaud and cheer. No kidding.

Why am I so surprised that people weren't lining up for this job?

Doesn't being the troop leader of 12 kindergarten girls sound like fun?

Or am I an absolute glutton for punishment?

My mentors tell me that being a Daisy troop leader will be a breeze. But as I'm combing through the more than 50 pages of information that they gave me tonight, I'm not so sure. Nonetheless, I'm seriously excited about this new endeavor and am really looking forward to the opportunity to cut out of work an hour early two nights a month, so I can host troop meetings for a dozen six-year-old girls in our home.

The only challenge that I foresee in all of this, is how we will manage to keep 1) myself and 2) Henry out of the 100's of boxes of Girl Scout cookies I envision we will have in our house, next year at this very time.

Hi, My name is Jen and I'm addicted to Thin Mints.

Monday, February 21, 2011

no greater sight

Charlie arrived home late Saturday night. Because it was unlikely that he would catch a flight out of San Diego before at least today, he instead opted to drive north to Los Angeles, and fly out of LAX.


When I told my mother what had happened, she gasped and said, "Jen, there are NO accidents. I just pray that the plane that he was supposed to be flying home on from San Diego, is safe. And ... that the plane he is on from LA is safe."

My mother has an uncanny ability to 1) win every drawing she ever enters and 2) foresee the future. So her words took my breath away and I then proceeded to worry for the next several hours. What if. What if the plane from SD is doomed? What if the plane from LAX is doomed?



While I certainly enjoyed the "concentrated time" with our children, the thought of my beloved being on a doomed plane had me in a state. While I didn't let on to the kids all the worries of my mind, I did have them sit with me, cross-legged in a prayer circle, and we held a vision of Charlie in our minds, as we prayed for him and his plane. The plane that he was on, and the one that he was supposed to be on. Provided he was on the right plane and was actually flying home this past Saturday, February 19.


(Note to self: we should reconvene our prayer circle for the plane he actually held a ticket for that is flying home on Saturday, March 19.)


When I saw Charlie on Saturday night, standing outside the airport, he was so happy to see us - and we were so happy to see him. I also felt relieved, excited, ecstatic and blessed.


Yesterday, we enjoyed what appears to be our last Spring-like day before cold temperatures and rain / snow is due again tomorrow, by running around the yard - flying kites and playing baseball. It was the happiest day of our lives.


We're so incredibly thankful Daddy is back home where he is needed, most of all. And I'm also thankful that we've got more snow in the forecast. I thought for sure the kids wouldn't have an opportunity to wear their boots again until next season.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

we'll just assume this was an accident

Although Charlie was born in Canada and spent the first 12 years of his life in a region of the world where there are considerable variations in the climate, the majority of his life was spent in Southern California.


While my husband has told me that he is enjoying Virginia, he gets a faraway look in his eyes whenever he thinks about wearing shorts and sandals 365 days a year. While I've really embraced living in a colder climate, Charlie's not particularly fond of wearing so many heavy clothes, such as flannel lined jeans and winter boots, everyday. Many a morning I've had more of a challenge with him, than the children, to put on a coat. I keep telling him that when it's 20 degrees, his long-sleeve triathlon shirt isn't going to be enough to cut out the chill.

A few weeks ago, when the temperatures were especially cold, and the children were bouncing off the walls of the house because they couldn't go outside and he was losing his mind at an accelerated pace, he sent me a text message that read, "This picture was taken of us last January, Jen. LOOK AT THAT BEACH! We need to blow this popsicle stand and get back to Sun Diego!"


This past week, Charlie flew back to San Diego for a project he's been working on. He's really been looking forward to this trip to fill up on sunshine. And I've really been looking forward to staying home during the day and having some "concentrated" time with the children.

He was supposed to return to Virginia this morning. But late last night, he called to tell me that he had made a mistake when he was booking his ticket. Apparently, when he plugged in his return flight information, he didn't realize that it was for Saturday the 19th of March.


Unfortunately for Charlie, a cruise ship just returned to port in San Diego, so he is competing for a flight with passengers attempting to fly out today. And also, unfortunately for Charlie, a convention just ended in San Diego, so he is also competing for a flight out with conference goers. When he called me at 5:30 PST this morning, he was #27 on the stand-by list for a flight at 7 AM.

Translation: he isn't going to get on that plane. Nor is it likely that he'll get on one this afternoon. Or tonight. Or anytime tomorrow.

I suggested that he tell them he'll be more than happy to sit in the lavatory. Alternatively, I told him that there isn't much that he can do about it, so he may as well enjoy the extra time that he has there. I've encouraged him to rent another car and head out to the beach. Although it appears, that also, unfortunately for Charlie, it is pouring rain and 50 degrees in San Diego.

(Sorry Charlie. That isn't really conducive weather for a swim across the La Jolla Cove...)


So, I've suggested that he either drive out to visit his Dad and Kathleen in Phoenix, and fly out of Arizona ... or, take a train up to Los Angeles, and fly out of LAX.

Interestingly enough, the sun is shining warmly here and the temperature is supposed to climb to the 70's again, today. But by the time Charlie finally returns home ... probably Tuesday at this rate ... the temperatures are supposed to drop again to the 40's.

After four days, I do miss my husband and the children miss their daddy. So when I told the kids what was going on, and flipped the calendar to show them when March 19th is, they were fraught with worry. They suggested that he take another plane. Or a helicopter. Or drive?

When I told them that those aren't really options, they suggested that he hold on to some balloons and float home, like in the movie Up.


This situation really isn't funny.

Which is why it's so perplexing that I can't stop laughing.

Tee hee hee HA HA HA Hooo!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

joys and concerns

The church where I spent the majority of my youth, had a wonderful tradition wherein every Sunday, if the desire struck, people would stand up - before the congregation - and share any joys or concerns that they were experiencing in their lives. If you've got a concern, it's nice for people to know so that they can support you. And if you've got a joy, well, it's nice for people to know so that they can celebrate with you.

So in the spirit of sharing ...

For the past few days, I've been home alone with the children while Charlie has been on a business trip to California. He's on his way back, and I'm thrilled about seeing him again. Not just because I love the man dearly, but because raising our family is genuinely a team effort.

This week, I learned that one of the members of our high-order multiples support group in California, recently passed away. While I never met Roberto personally, I do recall seeing notes from him on our community board and he seemed like a very involved father. He had been diagnosed a few years ago with bone cancer, that recently metastasized. He leaves behind a wife, Alessandra, two-year-old quadruplets and a five-year-old singleton.

This family has been on my mind, all week. It's a very difficult and impossibly sad situation to comprehend. Recognizing how much I not only like having Charlie around, but feel like I genuinely NEED HIM as a stabilizer to our family unit, my heart breaks for the Caetano family's irreplaceable loss. I'm holding Alessandra and her five beautiful children in my heart and I'm praying that she finds the strength and fortitude to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I'm also praying that my sister, Mary, who will soon be undergoing additional cancer treatment, feels the love that is coming her way.

Lastly, I'm praying that on this very night, in some lab somewhere, someone derives a potion that will once and for all kick cancer's ass to the curb.

And now ... for some joys!

Yesterday afternoon, the children were enjoying a picnic outdoors and suddenly, Elizabeth was excitedly pointing at the crystal blue sky. "What is it?" I asked. She jumped up and said, "LOOK! See right there? It's SPRING! It's coming our way!"


Our children had absolutely no concept of seasons when we lived in California because it so often happened that one balmy blue-skied day would blend with the next. But here, the impending change is so evident, we are giddy with excitement. In fact, for the past several days, the increasingly warmer temperatures have meant that our family has essentially moved from the indoors to the outdoors. We eat, nap, and play in the sunshine.


Today, it was an absolutely gorgeous 70 degrees. I don't think I ever realized before just how wonderful 70 degrees feels? There was a gentle wind and the sun warmed us, and the snow piles in our yard, from the inside, out. As a result, the most glorious mud puddles our children have ever witnessed, are now dappled across our partially barren landscape.


It is for that reason, I've never been filled with such joy that I own a washing machine and something called "Tide with Bleach" has been invented.

Monday, February 14, 2011

hugs & kisses

Today, I volunteered in the children's kindergarten class for their Valentine's Day party. My job was to help the little ones put together a craft that consisted of gluing two hearts together, adding smaller heart hands and heart feet, a little heart nose and googley eyes. There were a total of five "craft" stations. My station was established at one of the tables, so the children would "rotate" through to me.


Various parent volunteers were set up at the other tables. The first table consisted of making Valentine's Day cookies. The second and third tables consisted of making Valentine's Day magnets and bookmarks, respectively. The fourth table consisted of playing "Valentine's Day Bingo!"

Me and my pile of little hearts, googley eyes, and paper cups full of glue with Q-tips for dipping, were at the fifth table.

My first round of children required a moderate amount of instruction and supervision. My second, third and fourth round of children required only a brief tutorial on what they were making, and then absolutely no additional supervision. By the time I had finished handing out the googley eyes, everyone was done.

I was breezing right along when the fifth round of children reached me. When I had to stop not one ... not two ... but three separate kids from eating glue directly off the Q-tips, it dawned on me that the sugar and red dye they had consumed four tables prior had probably kicked in and they were now crawling out of their skin. When I looked over at the women who were coordinating tables two, three and four, my theory was confirmed. They all had googley eyes and looked liked they'd been hit with silly sticks.


Lesson learned: next year I want to work the cookie decorating station. Or, I want to be at the absolute end of the line - like I was this year - so I'm only exposed to one "rotation" worth of sugar-crazed children. Add to that chaos, the kindergarten teacher, who had previously been elsewhere in the room, decided to come over and sit down and watch what was happening at my table and the kids turned absolutely INSIDE OUT. I'm not exactly sure why the pandemonium suddenly exploded but sweet mercy. Whatever preconceived notions I'd help about how EASY a kindergarten teacher's role was, were completely shattered.

I'm not sure what William was talking about.

There is absolutely NO time to sit at the front of the room and drink beer.

In our children's class there are three teachers. The primary teacher and two full-time assistants. At the beginning of the school year, I thought that seemed like a lot, but after today, I could easily see an additional ten assistants.


The next 30 minutes of the class were a blur. I was running around, cleaning up, helping to hand out Valentine's Day cards, settling children down with a snack, organizing back packs for the trip home, putting on coats - zipping up coats - tying shoes - loading up back packs - and shuffling the children out the door for their buses. I typically volunteer in the children's class at least once every couple of weeks. But lending a hand in their class today was the most aerobic exercise I've had in a month.

Although ... getting our children to sit down and write 75+ Valentine's Day cards for their classmates coupled with our efforts to get out 120+ Valentine's Day cards in the mail on Thursday, so that they would (hopefully) be received by today was quite an aerobic feat, too.


While I thought I had counted correctly, I was running a high fever when I ordered the cards and realized after they arrived that we were a whopping 30 cards short. So if you didn't happen to receive a card this year (which was in place of our annual Christmas card that I neglected to send) ... this was the outside...


... and this was on the inside,


My favorite part, and my wish to you, whomever you are, was in our signature block. It read, "As the sun shines upon us, and the moon rises above ... we hope that your 2011 is full of good health, peace and LOVE!"

Love, Love, Love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

did you know?

... that if you belong to Netflix and you are interested in seeing a movie, there are certain titles that you can watch live? As in, you don't even need to wait for the movie to be mailed to you? Because that whole waiting for a whole 48- to 72-hours for a new movie can be a real bear (especially if you only check out one movie at a time like we do) you can log on and add the movie to your queue and if it says, "Watch it Now!" you can click it and watch it ... right away!

You can "live stream" your movies through a Wii, or a Roku. Or, you can just pull them up on your lap top and watch it wherever.

Like in a warm, toasty bed.

Charlie and I are watching The Young Victoria, tonight. I've added four more movies to our "Instant" queue, although I doubt we'll watch all of them tonight. What with those little red pills that I'm still taking for what appears to be a monster sinus infection ... I could easily stay up all night watching movies. But tonight IS a school night. Which means we need to be responsible.

And it wouldn't necessarily be the picture of responsibility if our children missed the school bus because their live-streaming Netflix addicted parents were watching their fifth movie in less than 10 hours.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

just in time for sunday dinner

A few years ago, my mother passed on a recipe to us that had been passed on to her by my Aunt Bunny. Who happens to be married to my Uncle Ed. Who happens to be my mother's older brother who is in his 90's and still does yoga every day and two years ago was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. He broke a couple ribs and was pretty bruised up, but that didn't slow him down for long. Uncle Ed being the strong man that he is, was back riding his bicycle within a few months.

I wouldn't be surprised if this incredibly easy recipe for the perfect roast beef is what gives him the protein he needs to be so strong and agile. This recipe is surely one of our favorites and I thought this Saturday eve would be a good time to share it, whilst giving a preview of our cozy little kitchen and adorable 45-year old oven.

First, you need to buy a roast beef, as pictured below.


Once you're ready to prepare the roast beef (and not a minute before), you need to turn your oven on to 500 degrees.


After you remove the roast beef from the packaging, you can rinse it off and blot it dry with a paper towel. Then, peel a few cloves of garlic and slice them in half, long ways.


Cut small slits in to the roast for your sliced cloves of garlic.


Plug in the sliced cloves of garlic.


Find a nice cookie sheet and line it with tinfoil. Please do not forget this step because you definitely do not want to clean a cookie sheet that has been baked in a 500 degree oven WITHOUT tinfoil. Especially a cookie sheet that has a roast beef on top that is about to be smothered with Gravy Master. (I think they call this counter top "speckled gold laminate" or "white gold textolite.")


Coat the roast in approximately 1/3 bottle of Gravy Master (or approximately three tablespoons. Maybe four. Highly doubt anything more than five.)


Make sure it's nice and coated.


Sprinkle salt on the top.


And a little pepper.


Then, place the uncovered roast in the 500 degree oven and bake it for SIX MINUTES per pound. (See our oven? Isn't it cute? It's not much larger than our toaster oven. Although this oven is almost five decades old, it works GREAT. For that matter, so does our 20+ year old dishwasher, and 30+ year old refrigerator. Does anyone remember all the hassles we had with our fancy top of the line computerized dishwasher in California? That thing broke 10 times in three years and five times in one year, before we complained so much the manufacturer finally replaced it under the Lemon Law. All this to say, it's a fact things aren't made as solidly now as they used to be. )


In our case, our roast was 2.5 pounds so 2.5 x 6 = 15 minutes.


After your timer goes off, turn the oven off and leave the door closed for TWO HOURS. When you open the oven and remove the roast after exactly two hours, it will be the most perfectly cooked, juicy and moist roast beef you've ever tasted.


This is an incredibly great and exceptionally easy recipe for anyone. Unless, of course, you are a vegetarian. In which case, I'll post an equally great recipe for eggplant parmigiana next time.